11 Dec Lord of the Poles
– The cooperation with NordiConsult works splendidly, and the Norwegian level of salary is much higher than in Estonia. The workers are therefore able to make more money by working with the Norwegian company than if they were hired by an Estonian company. Even though the work days can be long, we are given every fourth week off, so that we have a great opportunity to check in with our family and friends back home in Estonia, says Vorp.
Rot in utility poles is a large problem across all of Norway, but by using a specialized instrument such as the Resistograph, Vorp and his team is able to discover rot even if it is found in the soil 40 cm underground. – This is an area where rot frequently appears, and where the chances that the pole will lose its strength and crack are the highest, says Vorp.
A Clean Bill of Health
The thorough examinations which are completed on the poles are also able to show which poles which have recovered, and are now given a “clean bill of health”. These poles would most likely be replaced unnecessarily if it weren’t for these inspections. For the Norwegian electrical power companies who own the utility poles and the distribution lines, this implies that a large amount of money (millions) can be saved. When around 30-50 % of all the poles on a distribution line normally would need to be replaced, there is a lot of money saved when the inspections show that a large number of these poles can actually continue on without being replaced.
– The quality of the poles varies quite a lot. While some poles which were raised in 1917 still are considered in prime quality, other poles are found to contain a large amount of rot after only a few decades. Many woodpeckers build their nest holes in utility poles, damaging them thoroughly. These damaged utility poles are a large problem across the country. Also, woodpeckers often create new holes every year, explains Vorp.
Collection of Dry Land
– We depend on dry land to compete our inspections. Therefore we normally begin our season when the snow disappears in April, and continue until the snow settles. The mild weather this year has made it possible for us to work in the fields even now, in December, says Vorp.
Both Vorp and the other five Estonians who work for NordiConsult have experience in the same type of work in their home country. During a typical workday, a team of three people will inspect around 100 and 200 utility poles. After the poles have been inspected and labeled, all of the relevant information is saved in a specially developed PDA, and thereafter transferred to the company’s central computer system.
Meeting the Musk Ox
While working and completing inspections on various distribution lines, Vorp has also had close contact with the Norwegian animal wildlife. – In connection to an inspection in the Oppdal area we were observing a herd of musk ox. We were informed that the musk ox could be very aggressive, and we were advised to keep a distance from them of at least 200 meters. All of a sudden, we found ourselves in a situation where we were directly next to them! For a few moments we worried about what could happen in our situation, but luckily everything played out very well, says Vorp.
The Soviet Union
Vorp has survived a long voyage from bondage and difficult conditions when Estonia was a part of the Soviet Union and up until today. – While Estonia was under Soviet rule the only Western impulses we were witness to was broadcasts of Finish television. Luckily, Finish and Estonian are related languages so we found much joy in the Finish broadcasts, explains Vorp.
Vorp and his team will soon return home to Estonia to celebrate Christmas and recharge for the start of the 2012 season. Spring is just around the corner.